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Science & the Mind By Vamadeva Shastri


ver thousands of years, india’s civilization has made the inner science of consciousness its main concern. Dharmic civilization recognizes that inquiry into the nature of con- sciousness is the most important way of knowledge and the


most fundamental pursuit in life. This inner science is the supreme sci- ence, because through it alone can we truly understand the nature of the universe, its origin and goal, and also the nature of our own inner being, which is one with all. Modern science, with its many new research projects, is slowly devel-


oping a new view of consciousness that is better aligned with Dharmic õ


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behind the universe in order to explain the coherence of the laws of nature. So far, this uni- Rô 3 ^ô õ


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it is well known in Vedic thought as Brahman, the pure consciousness behind the universe, the Vedic idea of God, the Divine, or the Supreme Reality, the origin and end of all. + ô 3ô


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ness is through modern neuroscience, which includes the mapping of the brain, its functions and energies, and exploring how these affect our minds and our cogni- tion, including sleep and dream. This new form of brain study is discov- ering the healing powers of yoga and meditation for mental health and neurological functioning. Still, modern science remains far from embracing consciousness as ô *


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as the origin of mind and consciousness, which limits consciousness to the body, to physical reality. From this perspective, chemical medicine remains the main method for treating mental dysfunctions. Hindu thought teaches us that brain, mind and consciousness are


related but different in nature. The physical brain is an instrument for the mind, but the mind has a level of existence extending beyond physi- cal reality. The core mind, our karmic patterns, will leave the body at death and go on to another body and another life–as many yogis, mys- tics and occultists are well aware. Yet the mind, which has its own structure and functions and is part


of nature, is not supreme either. It is an instrument for a deeper con- sciousness, our true Self beyond body and mind, which is the real source of awareness and is beyond all change and action, time and space. The atman is one with Brahman as the universal consciousness. The univer- sal consciousness and embodied consciousness or mind are inseparably linked. Behind the physical brain and its chemistry is what could be meta-


phorically called a subtle brain of energy and awareness, the thousand- petal lotus, the highest of the seven chakras of yogic thought. It holds the secrets of higher consciousness, but must be activated by yogic prac- tices. It is largely dormant or unevolved in the ordinary person. When modern science explores the brain for understanding con-


A seeker has consciously put herself to sleep after performing japa and meditating. This preparation has given her access to an inner-plane school where she meets with others in her astral body. Having learned how to join her satguru in these second-world classes, she avoids lower, energy-depleting dream states.


sciousness, it is like measuring a man by examining the movements of 3 3


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along with its biological limitations and compulsions, then how to tran- scend the mind, which is individualized consciousness, to move beyond our karmic limitations. This leads us to eventually understand pure con- sciousness, which is an all-pervasive universal principle. This requires going to the core of our awareness that persists behind waking, dream and deep sleep.


april/may/june, 2017 hinduism today 49


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